Every time we drive a freeway, we are in the midst of strangers. My car is a kind of metaphor for the fact that I function within my own world, and the worlds of all those others are opaque to me when I am driving, as mine is to them. They all simply flow past me like a moving mural. Yet, though we do not even recognize each other as persons, all of our separate worlds co-exist in the same space, and even overlap. It gives me the scary image of rogue atoms that could fly apart at any moment, unhinged from their proper chemical bonds.
When we watch television or a movie, we become intimately involved in the characters’ lives; we are near to forgetting that they are only actors pretending. I think the experience of the freeway, and the experience of movie-watching, combine in a huge irony to make the fictional people seem real to us, and the real freeway
people unreal. And our situation is such that we must needs relate to both by only passive observation with no real interaction. What effect does this have on how we approach the world, and other people?